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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Smart contact lenses are seen as the next must have gadgets, and now more and more of them are starting to appear.

 

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All of a sudden the number of smart contact lenses that are emerging is on a tear, with new lenses that can zoom in on objects to turn you into a super spy, and new augmented reality contact lenses that do away with the need for those dorky AR glasses, and now scientists have created a smart contact lens that could help track the wearer’s health and monitor diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma.

Researchers at the Seoul University in South Korea created the soft contact lens to monitor fluid in the eyes for biomarkers that indicate the presence or severity of a particular disease.

 

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The lenses can also be charged wirelessly thanks to a technique called ‘Direct Ink Writing’ that let the team build tiny supercapacitors directly in the lens that can store electrical energy. The lens can then be charged using a conventional antenna system or wireless charging system meaning it can operate without needing to be charged externally using something like a conventional battery which, frankly, would kill the concept.

 

 

The researchers, lead by Jihun Park, said that the lens “performed reliably” in a live test with both rabbits and a human “test pilot” who wore the lens for 10 minutes. Park also said that there were no noticeable adverse effects and that the lens did not obstruct the wearer’s vision as the team tested all of its functions.

The research could be yet another breakthrough in smart contact lens technology, which has been studied extensively for medical applications and augmented reality, and recently elsewhere South Korean technology giant Samsung recently patented a contact lens that could take pictures and video simply by blinking.

 

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But according to the new research, smart contact lenses have thus far been limited by “the large size, rigidity, and heat produced by conventional batteries,” which made them uncomfortable to wear and which had the adverse side effect of cooking the test subject’s eyeballs – something that is a major no no. But, as new manufacturing techniques and technologies emerge it’s only a matter of when not if smart contact lenses will become a commercial reality.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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